Saturday 24 October 2009

Police busts module of Khalistan Zindabad Force


Police busts module of
Khalistan Zindabad Force
Amritsar: Special Operation Cell of Punjab police arrest a member of Khalistan Zindabad Force, officials said on Wednesday. Police said that Barkat Singh a close and trusted aide of Ranjit Singh, chief of KZF based in Pakistan against whom many cases pertaining to terrorist activities were registered.
Singh is currently wanted by Jammu police in a high profile murder case and at present was living on a fake identity. Investigations also revealed that Ranjit Singh was trying to push in huge consignment of arms, ammunitions and explosives from Pakistan, which was to be received by Barkat through a associate in Jammu, police said. An FIR has been registered under various sections of the Arms Act, Explosive Act and IPC. Bureau Report

Film with Sanjay Dutt not on Khalistan or 26/11: Lakhia

Film with Sanjay Dutt
not on Khalistan or 26/11: Lakhia
By Radhika Bhirani, IANSOctober 22nd, 2009

NEW DELHI - Filmmaker Apoorva Lakhia, known for making the hit crime thriller “Shootout At Lokhandwala”, has trashed rumours that his film with Sanjay Dutt is based on policemen who battled Sikh extremism.
“I don’t know where all this has come from. There is no film that I am doing on the Khalistan movement. Yes, I am doing a film with Sanjay Dutt, but it is more on the lines of ‘Shootout At Lokhandwala’ - something based on a recent event in Mumbai and something about cops,” Lakhia told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
So is it about the brutal 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks that took place last year?
“No way! Not at all. It has nothing to do with 26/11. It is based on a two- paragraph story I read in the newspaper about an event in the city involving some cops,” he said.
The movie will be directed by Lakhia in association with Shree Ashtavinayak Cinevision Private Limited.
Lakhia is at present busy with post- production of his first home production “Hide & Seek”, a romantic thriller that has an ensemble cast, including actors like Purab Kohli, Arjan Bajwa, Sameer Kochar and Ajaaz Khan.
The film is being directed by his assistant Shawn Arranha.
” ‘Hide & Seek’ is an exciting story about how six young friends play a game of hide and seek and one incident makes them drift apart for 15 years. Now to unravel the mystery of the incident, they have to play the game all over again. It has hints of childhood crushes and romance - basically it’s going to be a romantic thriller,” said Lakhia.
Asked if taking a leap from direction to production had been an itchy experience considering he had to stay away from the creative nitty-gritty of the project, Lakhia said: “Production is a different ballgame altogether.
“As a director you are used to demanding things without bothering about the budget. But as a producer I had to try and save whatever money I could.”
He has invested Rs.50 million in the film, but says the total budget would turn out to be approximately Rs.65 million after adding the publicity and marketing expenses.
On the creative front, Lakhia has been quite a liberal producer.
“I have directed more than four films in the past. And Shawn is just 23 years old, but very capable. My constant presence on the sets could be very intimidating for him creatively, so I just used to go and say ‘Hi! Hello’ on the sets and move away. However, I’ll be actively involved in the post-production work,” he said.

Friday 16 October 2009

WORLD SIKH ORGANIZATION WELCOMES 2010 OLYMPICS


World Sikh Organization
Welcomes 2010 Olympics
Accommodation Policy
Punjab Newsline Network
Friday, 16 October 2009
OTTAWA: The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) welcomes theannouncement of guidelines by the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit (V2010 ISU)accommodating the kirpan at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympics Games.
The kirpan is an important Sikh article of faith, worn at all times by ‘initiated’ or amritdhariSikhs. It reminds the wearer of their obligation to stand up for justice and to support theunderprivileged in society.
WSO Canada President, Gurpreet Singh Bal said today, “The V2010 ISU’s forward thinkingpolicy accommodating the kirpan, is in keeping with the spirit of mutual understanding and celebrating diversity which are values shared both by Canadians and the Olympic movement in general.”
Senior Policy Advisor for WSO, Gian Singh Sandhu stated,“The V2010 ISU’s policy will allowpracticing Sikhs to fully participate and enjoy the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games along with fellow spectators from Canada and around the world.”WSO encourages Sikh spectators attending Vancouver Winter Olympic events to becomefamiliar with the V2010 ISU policy and strictly adhere to the guidelines. For furtherclarifications please contact either WSO or V2010 ISU with any questions you may have with regards to this policy.

Thursday 15 October 2009

SEPARATE HARYANA GURDWARA COMMITEE ROW


Separate Haryana Gurdwara Committee Row,Akal takht declares Jhinda guilty
JAGMOHAN SINGH
Wednesday, 14 October 2009

AMRITSAR: Akal Takht (highest Sikh temporal seat) here Wednesday during the marathon meeting declared Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC) leader Jagdish Singh Jhinda and his five associates guilty (Tankhayia) for religious misconduct besides hurting the sentiments of Sikh devotees by and large.
During meeting of Sikh Clergy including Jatehdar Akal Takht Gyani Gurbachan Singh, Jatehdar Takht Damdama Sahib Gyani Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Jatehdar Takht Kesgarh Sahib Gyani Tarlochan Singh, Jatehdar Takht Patna Sahib Gyani Iqbal Singh and Deputy Jatehdar of Takht Hazoor Sahib Jotinder Singh were present at Akal Takht to hear Jhinda and his associates, when Jhinda and his associates were declared guilty for violating the Sikh tenets and customs.
Earlier Jatehdar Akal Takht Gyani Gurbachan Singh was expected to pronounce decision on Jhinda and his five associates on October 14 but deferred on today.
However, Akal Takht made it cleared that decision of quantum and type of religious punishment was kept in abeyance, would be declared in the next meeting would be held after November 15 and exact date of meeting would be announced later on, said Jatehdar Akal Takht.
Whereas, Jhinda after the edict of Akal Takht said,” I welcome the decision of holy Akal Takht since this is supreme body for Sikh community as well as for him. Every decision of Akal Takht is like the decision of Almighty. Whatever the punishment pronounced by Akal Takht would be acceptable to him and his associates”.
During conversation with Sikh clergy Jhinda remained Stick on his demand for the separate Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to manage the affairs of all Haryana based Sikh Gurdwaras which were presently being managed by the Amritsar based SGPC.
Jhinda and his associates-Avtaar Singh Chakku, Hazoor Singh Nambardar, Kanwaljit Singh, Joga Singh were allegedly accountable for threatening the Sikh priest on pistol point and then ordered him to vacate the Gurdwara last month on September 13.
It may be mentioned here that on September 13 Jhinda alongwith his associates allegedly took over the famous Chhewin Patshahi Gurdwara at Kurukshetra which was soon after got freed by the SGPC president Makkar when he reached on the spot along with his task force.
But Jhinda in his defense had said that it was all rumors, infact he along with his associates went to the Gurdwara to perform sewa (selfless service) which was distorted by the section of media, otherwise there was no truth in the entire episode.
Jhinda also told the Sikh clergy that on that during the sewa, he had offered Rs. 10, 000 in the Gurdwara Golakh (treasury) and at no where point didn’t rise for any kind of violation of Sikh code of conducts.

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Governor Schwarzenegger Crushes Kirpan Education Bill with Surprise Veto



Governor Schwarzenegger Crushes

Kirpan Education Bill with Surprise Veto
Take Action!We urge each you to tell Governor Schwarzenegger about your disappointment and disgust with his refusal to support the Kirpan Education Bill.

You can email him by clicking here or call him directly at 916-445-2841.
The Fight is Not Over!
"I am committed to carrying this legislation again until this or any other governor signs it. I urge the Sikh community to stand with me as we continue this fight."
- Assembly Member Furutani

Sacramento, CA (October 11, 2009) - In a surprise blow to the Sikh community, Governor Schwarzenegger last night vetoed a bill that would educate law enforcement officers about Sikh articles of faith. The Governor's decision came as a shock to dozens of organizations, communities and lawmakers who supported the bill. The veto was particularly surprising given the unanimous, bipartisan votes in favor of the bill through both houses of the legislature (77-0 and 36-0 in the Assembly and Senate, respectively).Take Action: Either email (click here) or call (916-445-2841) Governor Schwarzenegger. Let him know how you feel about him dismissing legislation to ensure law enforcement education on the Sikh articles of faith. Make sure you tell him, "Your lack of support for California's religious minorities is deeply disappointing. As an immigrant yourself, I would have hoped that you would see fit to support other minorities in our diverse community.""This loss for the Sikh community is a reminder of our serious lack of political clout. After months of hard work and 100% support from our lawmakers, the Sikh voice was still not strong enough to overcome the whim of one man. We have been here for over 100 years, but as a community, we need to learn to exercise our political muscle and our voting power," said Prabhjot Singh, the Sikh Coalition Board Chairman.The BillAB 504 was introduced in February 2009 by Assembly member Warren Furutani (D-Long Beach) to use education to help stem the arrests of Sikhs for carrying their kirpans in California. Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in the arrests of Sikhs nationwide for carrying kirpans. Police mistakenly believe them to be in violation of concealed weapons laws. Such arrests violate Sikhs' rights, waste taxpayer money, and have a traumatic effect on the person arrested.AB 504 was our first attempt to change this dynamic. Though the bill did not touch on the legality of the kirpan, it asked that police officers be trained about who Sikhs are and learn about the significance of the kirpan, in the hopes that religious understanding would decrease arrests. While some police and sheriff's departments have recognized the need for this type of training and have been conducting it on an ad hoc basis, this law would have standardized and mandated the process state-wide. The bill would have been the first law of its kind in the United States.What Happened?The Governor vetoed the bill as "unnecessary." His message read, "It is the policy and practice of the Commission to periodically review and update existing course curricula. If the Commission determines that training on the kirpan is warranted, it can create a program without this measure."The veto came despite the bill's broad endorsement by groups ranging from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and party consultants from both sides of the aisle, as well as several religious and civil rights groups. Every single California legislator was in favor of the proposed law. However, numerous efforts by Sikh community members to outreach to the Governor's office prior to the bill's consideration were greeted with no response from the Governor. We suspect that the final veto was the result of law enforcement's strong desire to avoid promoting the acceptance of Sikhs with kirpans.The veto message was an outrageous response because the language of AB 504 was modeled on a similar bill about people on the autistic spectrum that was signed by the Governor last year. AB 504 was also drafted with input and approval from the Police Officers' Standard and Training Commission (POST). Given his historic support of similar bills and the Governor's unwillingness to speak with Sikhs about the bill, his veto is considered to be a direct rejection of California's Sikhs. Governor Schwarzenegger is no friend of ours."The Governor's response is very disappointing. It shows his lack of support for promoting religious understanding," said Neha Singh, Western Region Director of the Sikh Coalition. "It is an utter shame that he does not understand the value of educating our law enforcement agencies on the diverse communities they are policing."

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Boy's Sikh dagger in school ban


The kirpan is one of five
'articles of faith'
Sikhs must carry

A Sikh boy has been withdrawn from a north London school after he said he wanted to wear his traditional dagger.
The boy, 14, was told not to carry the 5in (12.7cm) kirpan at the Compton School in Barnet after governors ruled it was a health and safety risk.
Under Sikhism the sheathed scimitar is one of five "articles of faith" that must be carried at all times.
The school governors have said they have tried to find a compromise and a place remains open for the boy.
They proposed he wore a 2in version of the dagger welded into a sheath.
But that was rejected as the family said the miniature dagger was a replica and not a genuine kirpan.
Privately educated
The boy first started carrying the religious artefact two years ago when he was baptised as a Sikh.
However, according to his older brother Ravjeet Singh, at the start of term last month, he was told it was no longer allowed.
"He was greeted by the head teacher at the school and was asked if he was wearing the kirpan" he told the BBC's Asian Network.
"He said yes and then they said, 'we're going to have to turn you away'."
At the moment we are holding a place open for the student should he feel able to wear a kirpan suitable to bring into school
Statement by the school's governors
Mejindarpal Kaur, director of community group United Sikhs, said: "The Compton School's decision is a blow to religious freedom in Barnet - schools throughout the UK have accommodated Sikh students who wear a kirpan."
The boy's family said he is now being privately educated, having missed five weeks of school.
A statement by the school's governors said: "We have examined potential compromises after looking at how this issue has been dealt with in other schools and elsewhere within the Sikh community and taken legal advice.
"At the moment we are holding a place open for the student should he feel able to wear a kirpan suitable to bring into school."
The Department for Children, Schools and Families said it was up to schools to make their own policy on the carrying of the kirpan and that, if challenged, it would be up to the courts to decide.

Sunday 11 October 2009

‘We Were Clubbed With The Terrorists’


Punjab
‘We Were Clubbed With The Terrorists’
A young major commanding a squadron of tanks recollects his memories of Operation Bluestar...
Chander Suta Dogra Interviews Gurinder Singh Ghuman

Memories. Proud, bitter, sad, painful. If only...what if?...why me? Whenever Lt Col Gurinder Singh Ghuman (Retd) relives the momentous days of Operation Bluestar, these memories strike at his inner self like a hundred shards, leaving him bruised afresh. As a young major commanding a squadron of tanks in the 46 Armoured Regiment posted at Amritsar, the summer of 1984 was a turning point in his life. Not because he saw the operation at close quarters, or because he was charged with supervising the cremation of scores of dead bodies, including that of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Doing all that was duty. The real cause of his anguish is that he was mistrusted by colleagues and betrayed, as he sees it, by the very organisation he had sworn to serve faithfully. Ghuman took premature retirement from the army in 1997 and is now an advocate at the Punjab & Haryana High Court. Excerpts from an interview to Chander Suta Dogra:
Revisiting Operation Bluestar 25 years later, what is the first thought that comes to your mind?
Though I was a young officer at that time, intent only on executing the orders given to me and had no idea of the planning that went into the operation, with the perspective of hindsight, the overriding thought is that it all got marred due to faulty planning and poor intelligence inputs.
In what way has Operation Bluestar affected you?
It has left a permanent mark on my psyche. I am not normal any more, I suffer from insomnia. I was never a very religious person to begin with, because in the army, we are trained to be secular and keep religion within the four walls of our homes. But now I go to the gurudwara every day. My career in the army was affected because I was a Sikh officer and my seniors suspected me of being sympathetic to the Khalistan cause. Despite above-average reports and a brilliant record, I was passed up for promotion.
Could you elaborate?


‘At an inquiry, I was asked if I touched the dead Bhindranwale’s feet in obeisance.’

I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was a time when Sikh troops in some other units were revolting and there was a question mark on the conduct of Sikh officers too. This hurt more than anything else. On the night of June 6, I was tasked with cremating the dead bodies from the Golden Temple and I supervised the cremation of some 70 bodies in the cremation ground next to Gurudwara Shaheedan. Just then, some police personnel brought the bodies of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Bhai Amrik Singh and Bhai Thada Singh. I noticed Bhindranwale’s left leg was dangling and on lifting it to see why, I realised his shin was broken due to three bullet wounds. It was idle curiosity. But later on, there was an inquiry against me at which I was asked if I had touched his feet in obeisance. There were questions also on why I folded my hands when the granthi was reciting the antim ardas (a prayer for the dead).
A couple of days earlier, I had been given the task of dispersing a crowd of angry Sikhs who had presumably gathered to attack some Hindus at Chiwinda Devi village on the outskirts of Amritsar. As soon as we took up position, the crowd dispersed. But the inquiry officer wanted to know why I did not open fire on the crowd. All this when I had also been tasked with the job of stopping the possible advance of a mutinous armoured squadron of Sikh troops coming from Jalandhar on June 9. Being a Sikh officer, I was the only squadron commander of my unit who was operationally deployed at that time!
Do you think if you were not a Sikh officer, your career would have taken a different turn?
Certainly. All Sikh personnel in the army were looked upon with suspicion at that time. We were clubbed with the terrorists and almost overnight the very organisation that nurtured us professionally turned adversarial. As if battling with our own countrymen in the operation was not enough! For me, personally, I could never think of questioning an order. Which is why facing the subsequent inquiry ordered against me was distressing.
What about the idea of Khalistan? Was it a very emotional issue with Sikhs at that time?
The Sikh masses were never in favour of Khalistan. Contrary to popular perception, Bhindranwale did not really have a great following. The whole situation was mishandled and allowed to get out of hand.

Saturday 10 October 2009

UK School Bans Kirpan Forcing Sikh Out of School


UK School
Bans Kirpan Forcing Sikh
Out of School
Student Without School for 4 weeks is Admitted in a Private School Yesterday
"The Compton School's decision is a blow to religious freedom in Barnet schools whilst schools throughout the UK have accommodated Sikh students who wear a Kirpan. The school should recognise that the Kirpan poses no greater risk to other students than scissors, cutters or cutlery that exist in greater numbers in schools and are regularly handled by students ," said Mejindarpal Kaur, UNITED SIKHS Legal Director .
London, U.K. - After two years of negotiating with his school, a 14 year old Sikh boy was told by his North London school that he would no longer be allowed to wear his Kirpan that he had been wearing for two years, because it posed a health and safety risk. On the first day of school last month, he attempted to attend classes at The Compton School, but was escorted out after he told his teachers that he was wearing his Kirpan, which is a sheathed scimitar, one of the five kakaar ( articles of faith), as an initiated Sikh, he must wear at all times. An award winning student who is starting his crucial GCSE year, J Singh (who is a minor, hence not named) had been out of school for 4 weeks until yesterday, when he obtained admission in a private school after his family took a loan to pay his £6,000- a- year fees.
The legal costs of engaging Bindmans LLP have exceeded £6000. If you wish to assist the family to pay J Singh's private school fees and legal fees incurred to date and in the future, please donate at www.unitedsikhs.org/donate
UNITED SIKHS has been meeting with community leaders to consider the way forward so that Sikh students may be able to practise their faith freely.
After J Singh was turned away from The Compton School, the Barnet Council's Director of Children's Services, Robert McCulloch-Graham and the Council's legal advisor, Lanna Childs, met UNITED SIKHS legal director, Mejindarpal Kaur and J Singh's family. Lanna Childs insisted that J Singh was not 'excluded' from school as he could return if he removed his Kirpan. Mr Mc Culloch said that since J Singh was not excluded there was no duty for the Council to find him an alternative school, even though he was of compulsory education age.
"Why is a Sikh student being asked to choose between his education and his faith?" Mejindarpal Kaur asked Mr. McCulloch, to which he replied, that the school governors had agreed that J Singh could wear a two inch 'kirpan' from tip of handle to blade, which is welded shut in its sheath.
"We had informed the school that the two-inch alternative is a replica and not a Kirpan, hence not acceptable to J Singh or the community," Mejindarpal Kaur informed Mr Mc Culloch.
Prior to the exclusion, UNITED SIKHS had contacted the Equality and Human rights Commission who offered to provide a mediation service which was declined by the school. We also obtained legal advice from Helen Mountfield, a senior barrister who had represented Sarika Singh in her Kara case last year. The School refused to budge despite representations by Bindmans lawyers following counsel's advice.
UNITED SIKHS has written a letter, cosigned by a number of Sikh organizations, to Ed Balls MP, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and also sought assistance from the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Sikhs, Rob Marris MP and chair for APPG for Punjabis John Mcdonnell MP. Both also wrote to Ed Balls MP. You may read UNITED SIKHS' letter to ED Balls MP here.
In reply to Rob Marris' letter to Ed Balls, Diana Johnson, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, stated that the non-statutory guidance to schools on the wearing of Kirpan explains that schools should be fully aware of the religious observances of Sikhs and the need to deal with this issue sensitively.
"We expect disputes. to be resolved locally. The Department (of Children Schools and Families) does not usually intervene. If challenged, it would ultimately be for the courts to decide if the school is justified in restricting the wearing of the Kirpan in this case," Diana Johnson said.
"The Compton School's decision is a blow to religious freedom in Barnet schools whilst schools throughout the UK have accommodated Sikh students who wear a Kirpan. The school should recognise that the Kirpan poses no greater risk to other students than scissors, cutters or cutlery that exist in greater numbers in schools and are regularly handled by students ," said Mejindarpal Kaur. Sikhs have a statutory exemption under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 that allows them to wear a Kirpan in public, including at schools.
For the last five weeks, as parents saw their children settle into a new academic year, J Singh's family was desperately looking for a school for their son.
"We knew that no school in the Barnet borough would take my brother as they would be bound by the same legal advice given by the Council's lawyers. We looked at schools in other boroughs even though it meant my brother would have to travel an hour each way to school or live away from home. Even that was a challenge as schools had a waiting list and it was too late to join school in the 10th year as most schools took new admissions at year 7," said Ravjeet Singh, J Singh's elder brother.
"We were hopeful that a Sikh faith school in Hayes, the Guru Nanak Sikh School, would accommodate my son. However, they too turned us away saying they have a long waiting list," said J Singh's father, Bhupinder Singh.
UNITED SIKHS encourages the Sikh community to wear their kakaars, fearlessly exercise their freedom of religion, and to contact us with any problems, concerns, or incidents of discrimination.To read a previous press release on UNITED SIKHS advocacy efforts for kakkar please visit: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-05-10-2009-00.htmlHelp us tailor our advocacy initiatives for the greatest global impact by participating in the Global Sikh Civil Rights Survey.The legal costs of engaging Bindmans LLP have exceeded £6000. If you wish to assist the family to pay J Singh’s private school fees and legal fees incurred to date and in future, please donate at www.unitedsikhs.org/donateUNITED SIKHS is a registered charity in the UK and if you are a tax payer and sign a Gift Aid declaration, we will receive, from the Inland Revenue, an additional 28 pence for every pound you donate.Issued by:Rishipal SinghDirectorInternational Civil and Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA)UNITED SIKHSPhone: 07709830442mhtml:%7BD6C86553-6682-4652-9690-E66B5E11C5F3%7Dmid://00000334/!x-usc:mailto:law@unitedsikhs.org

KHALISTANI ARRESTED IN JAMMU


Khalistani arrested in Jammu
A member of Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) has been arrested in Satwari area of Jammu city, police said on Friday.
Jammu A member of Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) has been arrested in Satwari area of Jammu city, police said on Friday.
Ranjit Singh alias Ranji was arrested from a house here on Thursday. A revolver and five cartridges were recovered from his possession, they said.

Friday 9 October 2009

Clothing Store Denies Discrimination Against Turbaned Sikh


Clothing Store Denies
Discrimination Against
Turbaned Sikh

A prominent clothing store denied they had discriminated against Amandeep Singh, a young Sikh man, when he was refused a job because of his turban and claimed that their staff had not understood their dress policy. When Amandeep applied for a job at the Kenneth Cole retail store in Westchester Mall earlier this summer, he did not expect to experience discrimination. In a second interview, the manager of the store expressed interest in hiring him, but then inquired as to the necessity of his wearing of the dastaar (Sikh turban).
Amandeep described his dastaar as a requirement of the Sikh faith, and the manager informed him that "Kenneth Cole's company dress policy clearly states that it did not allow shorts, baggy pants, visible logos, tube-tops, miniskirts, or headgear," and therefore they would not be able to hire him.
This came as a surprise to Amandeep, as Kenneth Cole used a Sikh model, Sonny Singh Cabberwal, in an advertising campaign in the Fall of 2008, and that campaign was heralded by the Sikh community.
After Amandeep contacted UNITED SIKHS, we wrote to Kenneth Cole asking that the incident be immediately investigated, a change in corporate policy be instituted, an apology be issued to Amandeep Singh, and training be put in place regarding diversity including education about Sikhs. Kenneth Cole responded with an apology, stated that the particular store's associates did not understand the relevant policies, and stated the Company's policy "does not prohibit headgear worn because of a sincerely held religious belief." Representatives from the Company also called Amandeep and offered to continue his interview process. UNITED SIKHS is pursuing a change to the policy that explicitly expresses the exception for the dastaar (Sikh turban), and is continuing to advocate for training to ensure that incidents such as this one are not repeated.
Amandeep Singh commented on the experience, stating, "Being born and raised in the United States, I never thought I would be discriminated against because of my religion. I will now have this incident in mind every time I apply for for a job." The dastaar (Sikh turban) is the most recognizable feature of a Sikh. It is an inextricable part of the Sikh identity and is worn by a Sikh at all times, to cover the kesh (unshorn hair), one of the five articles of faith initiated Sikhs are required to maintain. The requirement of unshorn hair and a dastaar tied over it has been codified in the Sikh Code of Conduct (Sikh Rehat Maryada).
Commenting on the case, Jaspreet Singh, Staff Attorney, UNITED SIKHS stated, "While Kenneth Cole has stated it does not support a discriminatory policy against religious headgear, we are continuing to pursue this matter with the Company to ensure that proper protocol is in place so that incidents like this one do not occur again. Employment discrimination has been a consistent problem for Sikhs in the United States, and every incident like this one must be treated seriously." UNITED SIKHS is working closely with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other state civil rights agencies to address workplace discrimination against Sikhs.
UNITED SIKHS encourages the Sikh community to wear their kakaars, fearlessly exercise their freedom of religion, and to contact us with any problems, concerns, or incidents of discrimination.
Help UNITED SIKHS tailor their advocacy initiatives for the greatest global impact by participating in the Global Sikh Civil Rights Survey.

Sikh extremist activity minimal in recent years


Sikh extremist activity minimal
in recent years: Report ( Oct 07 2009 )

Sikh extremist activity in Canada, considered a cause of concern in Indian security establishment, is "minimal in recent years" according to a report, titled "Canada: Bi-Annual Update on the Threat from Terrorists and Extremists".
The Integrated Threat Assessment Centre report, however, underscores that separatism "provides an undercurrent of tension in various regions of Canada, most prominently in Quebec."
Dated last November, the report was only recently released under the Access to Information Act, Canadian media reported.
There had been a sustained propaganda for Khalistan, a separate Sikh homeland, in Canada.
The Canadian government, however, has been insisting that it can't do much about people peacefully lobbying for Khalistan.
Canada was first among the countries where consulates of Khalisatn were announced to be set up unilaterally in the cities of Winnipeg, Vancouver and Toronto in 1969. Later in late eighties and nineties a violent movement in the name of Khalistan led to killings of thousands of people in India.
A major event in Canadian history was bombing of an Air India plane in 1985 for which Indo-Canadians were major suspects. They were acquitted many years later in court cases.
Many terrorist organizations working underground in Indian state of Punjab then, had been working openly in Canada.
In June 2003, the Canadian government outlawed the Babbar Khalsa, blamed in the 1985 Air India bombing, as well as the International Sikh Youth Federation.
The Indian government has also been raising concerns in Ottawa over an apparent resurgence of the Sikh separatist Khalistan movement in Canada.

Tuesday 6 October 2009

SUVIDA CENTRES THROUGHOUT PUNJAB BY BAISAKHI NEXT YEAR


Suvida Centres throughout
Punjab by Baisakhi next year

JAGMOHAN SINGH
AMRITSAR: Giving concrete shape to the administrative reforms SAD-BJP led Punjab Government has decided to set up Suvida Centres of Police in every districts by Baisakhi, informed MLA & Patron Youth Akali Dal Bikram Singh Majithia.
The Suvida Centres will provide all the civil services rendered by police like providing passport verification services, arms licence verification, permission for fairs, permission of loud speakers, issuance and renewal of arms licence, police clearance certificates etc. within scheduled timelines, informed Majithia.
Similarly, Citizen Centering Municipal Act would also be introduced in the Municipal Corporations by Baisakhi next year, so that people’s interaction with the government be made harassment free, efficient and cost effective, he added.
Reacting sharply to the query regarding allegations leveled by former Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh, Majithia said that Capt. Amarinder Singh was a diffused cartridge, devoid of any political agenda.
Majithia claimed that Badal led SAD-BJP party has created an atmosphere conducive to industrial growth whereby industrial giants like Laxmi Mittal, Anil Aggarwal (Vedanta Group), GVK and the like are investing in Punjab. Their investments will further attract many ancillary units and thus promote economic prosperity.
Talking about the candidates fielded by SAD in Haryana, Majithia claimed that both the candidates would definitely emerge victorious. Majithia was talking to media during the ceremony organized at Bachat Bhavan Amritsar wherein. Vir Singh Lopoke, assumed the office of Chairman Distt. Planning Committee Amritsar, here today.
Talking to media Lopoke assured that he would work hard to bring about holistic growth of the city and would device a suitable monitoring mechanism to ensure the proper implementation of centre and state government funded development schemes.

Sunday 4 October 2009

SIKH POLICEMAN WINS L 10000 AWARD AFTER TURBAN ROW


Sikh policeman wins £10,000
award after turban row
Officer ordered to take off turban for riot training wins discrimination case

A Sikh policeman ordered to remove his turban to do riot training was awarded £10,000 compensation today by an employment tribunal.
PC Gurmeal Singh, who joined Greater Manchester police in 2004, had objected to removing his turban for the course on religious grounds.
After a three-week hearing in Manchester, he was awarded £3,500 for indirect racial and religious discrimination and £6,500 for harassment after suffering psychological damage, injury to feelings and personal injury.
In a meeting with a sergeant to discuss the riot training, he was told: "Can you not take that thing off … this is what you signed up for."
Singh, 31, was also asked whether he could modify his turban. He told the tribunal he feared he would be made to look like a comic character from Only Fools and Horses, where in one episode Del Boy Trotter tries to sell 200 "crash turbans" for fashion-conscious motorbike-riding Sikhs in Peckham – the motorcycle helmets had cloth wrapped around them.
Singh said he suffered panic attacks, stress and palpitations and was off sick over the issue during the long-running dispute.
The tribunal rejected 13 of his 15 allegations. But the panel found he suffered a single case of indirect racial and religious discrimination, after he was included on a group email on 8 February last year, telling officers riot training was mandatory and he would therefore have to remove his turban.
Singh had already told superiors he was unhappy about the situation.
Two months later he had an "unpleasant" meeting with his sergeant and went off sick the next day. The tribunal heard the two officers were on good terms and this was a "one-off disagreement", but the panel ruled the meeting amounted to harassment.
Singh is still employed by Greater Manchester police on "recuperative duties".
He was also awarded payment for loss of earnings of £1,914.15.
After the hearing Singh said: "I'm looking to return to work and see how GMP accommodate me. The sort of case I brought forward was long-term issues which I'm hoping will be resolved and I can only hope GMP can accommodate me."

PUNJAB POLICE ARREST TWO BABBAR KHALSA



Punjab Police arrest two Babbar Khalsa

The Punjab Police toady claimed a major break through in the assassination case of Rulda Singh, president of the Punjab Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, a wing of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh, who was shot at and seriously injured by two unidentified persons at his residence near New Grain market on July 29.He later died on August 15 in the PGI at Chandigarh due to the bullet injuries.The police arrested two militants of the Babbar Khalsa this morning near Rethkheri viilage on Patiala-Sirhind road, DIG of Patiala range S K Asthana and SSP Arpit Shukla disclosed at a joint media conference.Mr Shukla identified the arrested militants as Jagmohan Singh and Darshan Singh, of Bassi Pathana in Fatehgarh Sahib district. The duo was arrested at a check point that was setup by a police party headed by CIA inspector, Jassa Singh. Police also recovered one .32 bore pistol from them. Mr Asthana claimed that Jagmohan Singh has admitted that he had opened fire on Rulda Singh. They committed the crime on the directions of Paramjit Singh Pamma, a Babbar Khalsa activist residing in England and Jagtar Singh Tara, an accused in the assasination case of former chief minister Beant Singh. Tara had escaped from Chandigarh's Burail Jail in 2004 along with Jagtar Singh Hawara and two others. While Hawara was arrested and has been sentenced to death in the assassination case, Tara is still at large.

SIKH LEADERS ARRESTS IN PUNJAB



Sikh leaders’ arrests
in Indian Punjab condemned

WASHINGTON - A Washington-based lobbyist for the Sikh cause Friday condemned the recent arrests of Sikh leaders, including Daljit Singh Bittu, in Indian Punjab, saying his people will not be deterred by the state repression to fight for their independence.“Such Machiavellian tactics only steel the determination of the Sikh nation to give geographical shape to the Sikh daily prayer, of ‘Raj Karayga Khalsa’, into a democratic buffer state of Khalistan, located between India and Pakistan, West of the Jumna river and East of the Ravi and the Pakistan border,” Dr. Amarjit Singh, director of the Khalistan Affairs Centre, said in a statement.Dr. Singh said that the current police terror has been unleashed to preempt the world-wide protests being organized by the Sikhs to commemorate the 25th anniversary of what he called the anti-Sikh pogrom triggered by the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, by two of her Sikh bodyguards.“During the four days long reign of terror in India, 25 years ago”, the statement said, “over ten thousand innocent Sikh men, women and children were murdered in Delhi, and other urban centres all over India, by workers of the ruling Congress party.“These Congress party apparatchiks, went on a murder spree, under supervision of the local police”. But Dr. Singh said no one had been found guilty.He said that Sikhs from all over the United States had staged a protest outside the United Nations on September 26 when the Indian external Affairs Minister, S.M. Krishna, was addressing the UN General Assembly.

Friday 2 October 2009

White man sponsor on Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary


White man sponsor on
Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary

AMANDEEP KAUR
Friday, 02 October 2009
HAMILTON(New Zealand): In a rare goodwill gesture Richard Howard, a New Zealander of British heritage will be one of the sponsors for the mega function being organized by the Indian community to mark the birth anniversary of legendary martyr Bhagat Singh at Hamilton on October 3.
It is worth mentioning here that Richard Howard is the first New Zealander of British ancestry, who has come forward to sponsor a patriotic function being organised to commemorate Shaheed Bhagat Singh.
Managing Director of Pathways, one of New Zealand’s most established and reputable immigration consultancies, Richard Howard, is pleased and appreciative to have the opportunity to contribute to the success of the ceremony and also to deliver a keynote address for a gathering of around 1,500 Indians in Hamilton.
“Without going into good or bad sagas of history, I wish to establish good rapport with each ethnic community in New Zealand including Indians, who are emerging as a major international market,” said Richard.
The development is being seen as turnaround in the history given the fact that British rulers had hanged to death the revolutionary Indian patriot Bhagat Singh, along with two associates Rajguru and Sukhdev, nearly eight decades ago. In the post-independence era Bhagat Singh had emerged as the icon of Indians for playing a significant role in liberating the country.
The ceremony would be organized by the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Memorial Trust, Hamilton. Having come into existence in June 2008, the Trust has already commemorated the martyrdom anniversary of legendary martyr and its endeavours to mark his birth and martyrdom anniversaries on regular basis.
“The ceremony turns out to be great for us as a British-New Zealander Richard has agreed to be the part of it as a sponsor. We welcome this gesture to garner better ties,” said the Trust Chairperson Jugraj Singh Mahil.
The Trust Vice President J.S Randhawa said that invitations had already been sent for the ceremony and arrangements are being made for an expected gathering of more than 1,500 including some New Zealanders by birth.

Thursday 1 October 2009

Amarinder Singh supports subsidies given by Punjab govt


Amarinder Singh supports
subsidies given by Punjab govt
Satinder Bains
CHANDIGARH: Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday supported subsidies given to agriculture and some other sectors by state government.
Addressing a press conference here, Amarinder Singh said that if economic position of state was sound there is no harm in giving subsidies to the certain sections. He said that after all it's the people's money and shall be spent on welfare of people.
Amarinder Singh said that Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal was giving statements that subsidies shall be discontinued but he is not taking decisive stand. He should told the Chief Minister firmly about the fiscal health of state. He added that his government had stopped subsidies for two years to stabalise the economy of state and later when they were comfortable, the subsidies were started again.
He however said that Punjab was caught in a debt trap and poor governance by Akalis was responsible for it. He said that present government didn't have enough funds to pay salaries of its staff. He said that state government was selling securities worth Rs.400 per month to run the government. The state is under debt of Rs.60,000 crores.
Firmer Chief Minister said that Badal government had performed poorly on power front. He said that power situation was same during Congress rule but they supplied full power to agriculture and industrial sector. He saaid that his government had made purchases to meet the situation. He said that he was not opposed to unbundling of Punjab State Electiricity Board since it is being done under Electricity Act. He however said that due consideration shall be given to the model to be adopted to give new look to the PSEB.
He also opposed SAD-BJP government decision to cancel the MoU with Reliance for opening of chain of stores in Punjab to market vegetables. He said that Reliance has 23,000 stores all over country. He said that it would have been to the benefit of farmers. He also supported payment of crops to farmers through Ahrtiyas.
Replying to a question, Amarinder Singh stated that it was for AICC president Sonia Gandhi to decide about appointing new PPCC president. He said that party was united and any decision taken by high command would be accepted by all.
Amarinder Singh said that law and order in Punjab was worst. "I have not seen such an anarchy during my 40 years of political life", he commented. He said that police was not registering case against the influential accused in many cases. In one case High Court had ordered to register the case but it was not comlied with, he added.

PAK GOES BALLISTIC WITH BHANGRA AFTER EMPHATIC WIN AGAINST INDIA


Pak goes ballistic with bhangra
after emphatic win against India
Karachi, Sept 27: The whole of Pakistan erupted with joy when the home side defeated arch rivals India in the ICC Champions Trophy clash late Saturday night.
Thousands of jubilant cricket fans came out on the streets in cities like Karachi, Hyderabad, and Lahore to celebrate Pakistan’s second win over India in any major ICC event.
Youngsters were seen doing Bhangra and chanting slogans, while some enthusiasts performed stunts on their motorbikes.
Meanwhile, captain Younis Khan congratulated the team on the famous win, saying it was the joint effort by the team that saw them defeating India by a huge margin of 54 runs.
Khan showered praise on the performer of the match Shoaib Malik for his brilliant innings of 128 runs.
“We had planned to mount a big ask against strong Indian side which we did successfully while it was made possible by the memorable innings smashed by Shoaib Malik (128) and speedy by Muhammad Yousuf (87),” The News quoted Khan, as saying.